Physics

World's most stable laser: Important for even better optical atomic clocks

New silicon resonator keeps the frequency of a laser more stable than ever before – Important for even better optical atomic clocks

Solar and wind energy may stabilise the power grid

(Phys.org)—Renewable energies such as wind, sun and biogas are set to become increasingly important in generating electricity. If increasing numbers of wind turbines and photovoltaic systems feed electrical energy into the grid, it becomes denser – and more distributed. Therefore, instead of a small number of large power plants, it links a larger number of small, decentralized power plants with the washing machines, computers and industrial machinery of consumers. Such a dense power grid, however may not be as vulnerable to power outages as some experts fear.

Researchers find retinal rods able to detect photon number distribution

(Phys.org)—The eye, whether in humans or other animals, is truly one of nature's most sophisticated advancements, able to convert light into signals the brain can interpret as imagery, all in real time. Most of the actual work is done at the back of the eye where rods and cones, two types of photoreceptors are located. Cones are primarily responsible for the eye's sensitivity to color, while rods, which are far more numerous (some 120 million exit in one human eye), are more sensitive to light in general.

First Planets Found Around Sun-Like Stars in a Cluster

NASA-funded astronomers have, for the first time, spotted planets orbiting sun-like stars in a crowded cluster of stars.

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery

NASA's long-lived rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers.

NASA Selects Advanced Robotics Projects for Development

NASA has selected eight advanced robotics projects that will enable the agency's future missions while supporting the Obama administration's National Robotics Initiative.

Boeing Completes First Milestone for NASA's Commercial Crew Initiative

The Boeing Company completed its first performance milestone Aug. 23 for NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative, which is intended to lead to the availability of human spaceflight transportation services for government and commercial customers.

Bendable crystals resolve properties of X-ray pulses

(Phys.org)—A frustrating flaw in a set of custom crystals for an instrument at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory inspired a solution for an important scientific challenge: how to accurately measure the colors of each individual pulse from a powerful X-ray laser.

Pyrex Glass Isn’t As Shatterproof As It Once Was, Report Finds | 80beats

If you’ve ever poured hot water into a Pyrex glass dish and been shocked to see it fracture before your eyes, a new report may give you some insight into what’s going on. Pyrex glassware, which came out in 1915 and was long marketed as “icebox to oven” cookware that did not expand or compress when exposed to high heat or low temperatures, is no longer made of that hardy borosilicate glass.

New method for imaging defects in magnetic nanodevices

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and the University of Maryland have demonstrated a microscopy method to identify magnetic defects in an array of magnetic nanostructures. The method represents an important step towards identifying, measuring, and correcting the magnetic properties of defective devices in future information storage technologies. 

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